It’s a tough time for humanity right now. With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak rapping at the window, a looming economic downturn, and the anxiety that comes with it, the general consensus is that it's a bleak time to be a citizen of earth. In the face of all this heartbreak and division, it’s probably a good time to check up on your neighbour.
If you’re out of ideas, sometimes a question as simple as “Are you ok?” would more than suffice. It might seem like an isolating time but let's not forget that asking how someone is doing goes a long way. Take it from us.
Singapore is now the poster child for handling the coronavirus but even in the city-state, many are still adjusting to the new normal. We spoke with Singaporeans to find out how they’re feeling amid all this and asked: Are you OK?
Jovan, 26, Hawker
For right now, I’m OK. I have a community of friends and family that give me a lot of energy and support. I’m still a little worried about the current state of affairs. We should find ourselves paying more attention to the needs of others around us.
You can’t possibly protect yourself from a contagious virus if you don’t take into account the welfare of your physical environment in which everyone else exists.
Yes, panic buying seems to have ceased, but the crux of this issue actually lies within us, and that is still very evident. Learn some care and compassion beyond the nuclear family and maybe you will be OK, too.
Shreyanka, 28, Consultant
I feel settled about some things and panicked about others. And then things reverse and the things that were settled are now things I need to panic about. Sometimes I'm more OK, sometimes I'm more not OK. And the more I try to attain a level of OK, the more I realise that straddling the line between OK and not OK is basically what I've been doing my whole life. This constant state of flux is really just my native state. Mine and probably every other human being's.
Malik, 25, Communications Executive
I'm smashing. Life's been up and down for the past few weeks but I've got great family and even better friends to make it work. I just landed my first full-time job out of college and just bought my first Harley Davidson. Life is at a crossroads between the old and new and I've never been more comfortable with where I am than today. Things are all falling into place.
Paul, 27, Freelancer
I am restless but at the same time I don’t really want to do anything about it. I’m a freelancer in production so the lack of jobs because of COVID-19 has put me in a weird funk. It’s also getting me pretty paranoid about going out and socialising but there’s also a lack of motivation coming from somewhere else too.
I am taking the time to focus on personal creative projects but those are also limiting because of budget constraints and they don't provide any income. Just been feeling really apathetic. There’s a whole bunch of “I don't know’s” regarding life and thought processes right now.
JQ, 27, Freelancer
I am OK, despite how I feel like that’s also the right thing to say. I just know that I am constantly trying to be OK and, honestly, that’s enough for me at the moment — being OK. I am more happy these days.
Sometimes, I think about how ironic it is. How am I supposed to be OK when the world is so fucked. I am not OK with child marriages, with 80 percent of the women I know having gone through some form of sexual trauma, for elderly to still be working at coffee shops. Is this an abrupt ending? I'm OK with that. How about you, are you OK?
Nic, 25, Student
Not gonna lie, these few weeks have been absolutely dreadful. The entire COVID-19 situation’s been harsh — the incessant fear over the safety of loved ones both in Singapore and abroad, the disruption of classes and everyday life, and the halt to the many social activities that inspire me and bring me joy. School’s taking its toll on me with the one million assignments I’m struggling to complete, and there’s always that nagging worry about finding a job upon graduation.
But yes, I’m still OK. I’m surrounded by so much love and positivity from friends and family, I have all these opportunities to pursue my passions, and there are so many other little things to be thankful for. I guess, sometimes, we all just need that little reminder that although life can be a real bitch, there are always things in life to be grateful for. Thanks for asking.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.